Financial Planning

You Know My Steez - My Why

Cincinnati, OH early 2000s
That makes me know that what we’re doing
We had the right idea in the beginning
And we just have to maintain our focus and Elevate
What we do is we update our formulas
We have certain formulas but we update them with the times
The rhyme style is elevated
The style of beats is elevated but it’s still GURU and Premier
And there’s always a message involved….
— GURU

This passage is the introduction to the title track You Know My Steez on Gang Starr’s Moment Of Truth album and it perfectly summarizes how I’m feeling after the journey to put my idea into action --  the idea of building a personal financial advisory brand providing indie artists and creatives with palpable financial solutions. Receiving confirmation from the relationships that I’ve built lets me know that I had the right idea in the beginning.

You may be asking yourself: Why?

First of all, I want to continue to bring light to this album. The combination of GURU on the mic and DJ Premier on production is, in my opinion, the best duo to ever do it. The Moment of Truth is a timeless piece of art, which continues to provide me insight into my own life and this intro track lays out GURU’s WHY quite clearly for the album.

I’m also using this introduction as a way to introduce or re-introduce myself and my company, Elemental Financial and the Why behind the business.

I believe that when artists prosper, they can deliver more of their message to the world. So, I founded Elemental Financial to empower musicians and creatives to take ownership of their wealth potential through one-on-one financial coaching and customized financial planning and investment advice.

In February 2006 I stepped off of the stage at the Southgate House and felt an exhilaration like I had never felt before in my life. I had just performed a 30 minute set of spoken word poetry. I remember a father and his daughter approach me soon after and ask me where they could get a copy of my CD, and this was the first time I realized that my words had power -- that my words caused emotion in strangers. I had hosted poetry slams and performed single pieces on stage before but this was my first opportunity to showcase multiple pieces and put on a show. I remember writing with more fervor over the following weeks and realizing that this was what I was supposed to be doing. This was my calling.I performed only one other time after that evening. What happened?

While my passion was being exposed, my logical side was concentrated on starting a career, paying off debt, and taking care of bills. This onstage performance coincided with a promotion at a large asset management company that I started working for 6 months prior. The new role would lead me to tour across the country -- but instead of delivering poetry, I was conducting educational seminars for 401(k) participants and talking about asset allocation and preparing for retirement.

My notebooks changed drastically over this time. Notes from studying for multiple securities’ exams, the Level 1 CFA exam, CFP coursework and finally the CFP Exam took over my rhyme books.

For almost 10 years I navigated corporate wealth management. The birth of my oldest son was the push I needed to exit life on the road and start fresh. I became a stay at home dad and began to map out my plan to start an independent financial planning company that would serve younger generations.

We were living in Nashville, TN at this time and as I began to do market research and have conversations about my idea common themes presented themselves. Everyone I talked to was in some way associated with the music industry or was a creative, and they all had similar challenges: cash flow, variable income, tax planning, and having financial security so they could do more of what they loved. My light went off again - this is what I am supposed to be doing.

I didn’t grow up in a musical family but in a literary family. My mom was a children’s librarian so I was always fascinated with stories and once I heard the stories of the likes of Chuck D, KRS ONE, and GURU my love for Hip Hop was sparked.

I want to help you use money as a tool so you can do more of what you love and spend more time getting your message out to the world! You Know My Steez.

Work through worldly problems, I got the healing power
When the mic’s within my reach, I’m feeling more power
Stealing at least three minutes of every rap radio hour
It’s often easier for one to give advice
Then it is for a person to run one’s own life
— GURU